Many of us have memories of our childhood from the 50s and 60s. It is important to document these experiences as they are so very different for the children growing up today. Faye Deery now lives in Western Australia but has become a valuable contributor to our facebook page and this blog is a fantastic opportunity to share with you many of Faye’s stories of her memories of her childhood in Munro Street, Hawthorn.

No. 3 Munro Street, Hawthorn.
This is the house I grew up in. Sadly, it is now not like this photo taken in the 1990s.

Three generations of family lived with Faye at the house at No. 3 Munro Street, and the back garden fence like on the eastern side of this street, adjoined the Fritsch-Holzer brickworks.

The house was owned by Alice and Charles Kellow, who lived in Fletcher St. Hawthorn. Their back fence backed onto the bowling club.  Alice Kellow is my grandmother’s aunt and in 1940 Alice and Charles Kellow sold the house to an unmarried lady who lived in Mayston St. Hawthorn. In 1940 my grandparents, Olive and George Grant and their daughter Margaret, moved into No 3 Munro St. and started renting. Each week my grandmother walked to Mayston Street to pay her rent and she asked this landlady if she could have first option to buy the house if ever she decided to sell it. In 1952 my grandmother brought the house.

The Grant family holidayed every year at a boarding house in Seaford. Bob Cameron met his future wife Margaret, when she went with her cousin to a Saturday night dance in Frankston.

Olive and George Grant, photo taken in 1950.

One day in 1946 the Grants returned home from an outing to find Bob Cameron mowing their front lawn and a Gladstone bag containing Bob’s clothes and personal items on the front porch. By the end of that day Bob had moved into the Grant’s home to live.  

Bob married Margaret Grant at Saint Columbs Church, Hawthorn in June 1947 and in December 1947, Faye, their first child was born; a son, Ian, followed in 1951 and another son, Graeme, in 1960.

Margaret and Bob Cameron on their wedding day.
Margaret Cameron with her baby, Faye.

My Dad’s early life

My parent’s marriage is not legal. My father was born to Doris Lillian Dodgson, a single woman on October 4 1923 at The Haven in North Fitzroy. His name on the second schedule birth certificate is Robert Dodgson and his father is listed as Unknown. As a baby Bob was fostered out to a lady who lived in Frankston. Bob lived with her until he was 13 months old when she became ill and was hospitalised and the local Presbyterian Church Minister approached the Cameron family, Sarah and John Cameron to ask if they could take Bob and care for him until this lady was well enough to have Bob back.

By the time Bob was 15 months old his foster mother had passed away and the Cameron family kept Bob and raised him as their own. Sarah and John Cameron already had eight children, John, Jim, Lilly. Jean, Donald, Kate, Sadie and Nance who was their youngest at aged 12. They all embraced Bob as their little brother, and Bob grew up as Robert Cameron (known as Bob). He joined the armed forces as Robert Cameron and he was Bob Cameron when he met my mother. And for some strange reason legal paperwork for Bob going to the Cameron family did not seem to exist. Bob and Margaret were married in the name of Cameron and the Cameron family said nothing, just accepted mum into the family

When Bob moved into Munro St in 1946, he must have had several jobs before getting a job in the Brickworks (Fritsch and Holzer) he worked there for 3 years or there abouts but every winter he got pleurisy and was advised to change jobs.

Around 1950 he applied for a job with the council but he had to show a certificate of his Birth Extract. Bob went down to Frankston to ask for a birth extract and he was told by the family that they would arrange to get it for him. The family had Bob’s name changed by deed poll to Cameron and were able to give him an Extract of Birth certificate, in the name of Robert Cameron. Nobody thought anything of it until in the 1970’s I applied for a second schedule birth certificate on behalf of Bob and that is when we found out he was born a Dodgson. As he married in the name of Cameron when he was really a Dodgson, the marriage is not legal. My brothers and I have the surname Cameron, but are we really Dodgsons? And to top it all off, Doris Lillian Dodgson lived in Glenferrie all those years and Bob did not know, having said that he did not want me to look for his birth mother.

Interesting to know that my father was illiterate yet he had a driver’s licence and he operated all of the large machinery for the council and had an endorsed licence allowing him to drive heavy machinery through the city of Melbourne.

This is Dad working at the tip site near the Auburn gas works. Dad also did worked at the trip near the Fritsch Holzer quarry and made money collecting brass, bottles etc.

Faye’s dad also took part in the Hawthorn Centenary parade in 1960.

Dad was warned not to use the white horse in the parade as he was a bit feisty and could be difficult with crowds. Having been given this advice, My father, (one of those people who cannot be told) decided to use this beautiful horse and to everyone’s amazement he (the horse) behaved very well.

My grandfather died in 1951 and in the December of 1952 the title deeds to the Munro Street house was transferred into my grandmother’s name. Olive Grant and daughter Margaret both died in the 1980’s and Bob passed away in 2004. Bob Cameron had lived in Munro St. for 57 years.

Memories of the Munro Street area.

Faye remembers many of the other families in Munro Street, including the Martin, Goddard, Hawkesworth, Oswald, Taylor, Little, and James families. She also recalls hearing the pianist Nancy Weir, play as an adult.

Nancy lived on the corner of Munro and Bowler Street in approximately 1957. She gave lessons from her home when she was not preforming overseas. We would hear Nancy each day playing on her beautiful grand piano. We were privileged to hear her play where others had to paid for the privilege. At the age of thirteen Nancy played with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.  

There was a playground at the bottom of Munro Street, which had a Maypole, slide. seesaw, monkey bar, two sets of swings and a long swing which could sit 4 to 5 children on it at the one time. The playground was my entertainment area, all the local kids would be there after school and on the weekends. Also adjacent to the park was an area of vacant land where the boys played football. The wire fence along the boundary of the playground and area of vacant land kept people out of the Fritsch Holzer Quarry. The wire boundary fence was camouflaged with bushes in which the kids would make cubby houses.

Cowboys and Indians, marbles and knuckle bones were all played at the park. Every year the vacant block was used for the celebration of Guy Faulks Day. In the lead up to Guy Fawkes Day those in the community would bring their unwanted burnable rubbish to the middle of the vacant land in preparation for a large bonfire. Local boy, Robbie, always made the ‘Guy’ to sit at the top of the bon fire. On the night of Guy Faulks Day, crowds of people would gather at the park and as the sun went down the bon fire was lit and the night would explode with sky rockets, crackers, sparklers and more and in the morning with the fire still smouldering the local kids would scour the park looking for fireworks that had not been set off.

In the 1950s deliveries of milk, bread and ice to the house were quite the norm.

I was about 4 years old and I can clearly remember the Iceman who delivered a block of Ice for our Ice chest, we did not have a refrigerator. The local Iceman’s name was Jock. He was a tall burly Scotsman with a rugged face and a mass of red curly hair and a broad Scottish accent; an intimidating site for the shy little

Faye.  I can still picture him walking from our front gate along the path to our backyard with a bag on his shoulder supporting a large block of Ice. I always kept my distance whilst watching him because I knew he always had a lolly in his pocket to give to me and he would say to me as he handed me the lolly… “Here’s a lolly for the Wee Bairn.”

I spent a lot of time playing with Johnny Hawksworth. Our bread was delivered by horse and car and Dave delivered it three times a week. Coming down Munro St. Dave would leave his horse and cart outside of our house while he had his lunch and cup of tea with my mother and grandmother. On one particular day Johnny and I climbed onto the back step of the cart opened the door and took out a large fresh loaf of bread. We took off down the laneway to the council storage yard (which was locked) squeezed through the gates and we sat inside a large round concrete soak well and proceeded to eat the bread.

Kindergarten and School days

I was four years old here. I went to the Robert Cochrane kindergarten. This was my rockinghorse that my father decided that I did not need anymore and gave it to the kindergarten,

I was born with a congenital hearing loss known as Sensorineural Hearing Loss.

My hearing loss went unnoticed for 19 years, only coming to light when my co-worker suggested I have my hearing checked. Not one school teacher, relative, friend or my parents or my grandmother realised that I had a problem hearing.

As I am older I now only see the negative of my school days but back then I knew no difference. Thinking about my primary school days up to form 2 at Auburn Central (now just Auburn) I was not a bright scholar but I did learn to read and write. I was naïve, did not have the same maturity level as my peers. My home life was dysfunctional and because of my hearing loss I could turn off and live in my own world both at home and at school. I did not play or associate with the girls in the popular group and just joined in with some of the girls who often just let me join in. In the primary years I was not unhappy and never noticed if anyone shunned me.

In the higher forms 1 and 2 it was different. We wore a navy-blue uniform. At the end of year 6 the school changed the Navy uniform to Grey uniform. I must have lost the notification note informing parents of the change in uniform. My parents brought me the Navy uniform and I ended up being the only person in the forms wearing Navy blue. I stood out like a sore thumb.

Faye Cameron, Auburn School, front row.

Looking back, I am thankful that I had a hearing loss because I never heard any comments made to me or about me from the other kids and I’m sure I was the topic of conversation many a time… having said that I can’t remember anyone being nasty directly to me.

As a school age child, I did not participate in school sports, I did not like to run in races and I did not like basketball because I did not understand the rules and I was not fast enough to get the ball, just not interested. I did like to play the game Rounders and I could swim very well. When I was at Swinburne, I was in the inter school swimming and diving team.

I loved to go to Sunday School. I can’t remember when I started to go or who took me there first. I do remember going with the Anne Miller who lived in the next street. Anne and I were the same age and every Sunday morning in our best clothes off we went to Sunday School at St Augustine Church in rooms behind the church. Mr and Mrs Dyer ran the Sunday School. I don’t remember any religious instruction I just remember the games and drawings that we did. My friends Bettyann and Rosemarie were also in Mr Dyer’s class and every so often on a Sunday afternoon we all went to the Dyer’s home for afternoon tea. I loved to go because Mrs Dyer made the most beautiful cakes with fresh cream something we did not have at home. Once Mr Dyer took us as a group to Channel Seven to be in the audience off the Happy Hammond Show and also to the Mc Robinson’s chocolate factory. Sunday School was more about the social side.

Mr Dyer worked for the ‘House of Franke Stuart’ he was a cleaner. I brought my wedding dress from The House Franke Stuart.

My teenage years

I joined the Hawthorn Citizens Youth Club in Auburn Road from the age of 10 as we lived one street away. I did gymnastics and Judo and excelled in both. I got the Best Girl of the year award three years in a row for gymnastics and I won a Keystone award. As I got older, I taught gymnastics to the younger girls. I guess my forte was the trampoline which I also taught as well.

Our Judo teacher’s name was Hans. He had arranged for our class to put on a demonstration of Judo at the Boxhill Boys High School. I was 14 at the time and the only female in our class on this night. When we arrived I needed a change room. The room I was given was a storage room for sports equipment. It was crammed with equipment and not neatly stacked, so here I was in this dimly lit room about to change into my Judo uniform when I heard a voice say ‘Hello’ I stopped still asked who was there and got no answer and I could see no one so as I continued to change my clothes again, I heard ‘Hello’.  Now I was beginning to get frightened. Looking around I could see no one. Again, I heard ’Hello’ which seemed to be coming from under a large sheet. I slowly moved towards the sheet and as I lifted the sheet there sitting on a perch was a cockatoo who promptly said ‘Hello’.

I joined the Trampoline Club at the Golden Bowl Sports centre in Camberwell. Brendon Edwards ran the Gym and the trampolines and they eventually introduced Bounce Ball. I was not into the Bounce Ball but I would go up to the centre on week nights and supervise the trampolines. It was my unpaid job to collect the tickets from those who paid 40 cents for 15 minutes to bounce on the trampolines and when there was a trampoline not in use, I could use it.

Faye, aged 16 yrs at the Golden Bowl, Camberwell

The trampoline club was on Sunday mornings from 9 – 12. This is where I met my husband. I was taught the trampoline gymnastics by Don Viney, a world champion competitor and in the mid 1960s I came 3rd in A division in the Victorian Championships.

Faye Cameron aged between 17-19 years of age.

The Fritsch Holzer Brickworks

As a child in the 1950’s I used to stand on the wooden rail of our rear back to watch the drop trolley clay carts go up and down the quarry on the narrow-gauge rail line. The trolleys were filled with clay and placed into clay bins prior to crushing and molded into bricks.

There was a perfectly round brick and mortar drain that ran under Mr. Holloway’s rear yard towards the storm water drain in the gutter at the end of Munro St. As kids we would climb down to the drain to sit inside it. The drain had been sealed about 30 ft into the drain. I’ll never know how we never fell in.

In this newspaper cutting about the quarry avalanche from 1970, the year I got married, you can just see my grandmother looking over the fence and in the bottom picture is of Mr Holloways and my grandmother. The large garden shed and almost half of Mr Holloway’s rear yard and some ferns, that he had for many years, went down. We were lucky however, our brick shed did not go down. That was No.1 Munro Street and we lived next door at No 3 Munro Street. Poor Mr Holloway was never the same after that.  

Later years

Faye Deery.

At 15 years of age, I wanted to be a hairdresser but I did not know how to go about getting an apprenticeship and my parents did not help either. I spent a lot of time with my school friend, Angela, and it was her mother who got me a job working at Harbig’s Millinery in Glenferrie. I worked alongside the designer Noel Jenkins and head Milliner Kate Roberts.

I gained so much knowledge in creation and design and in later years I used these creative ideas and skills to design and build enclosures for the endangered species and resident animals at Kanyana Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre in Lesmurdie Western Australia. I volunteered there for 20 years (over 10,000 hours) as a treatment person and supervisor. Kanyana cared for sick, injured and orphaned wildlife.

All images supplied by Faye Deery

Faye Deery and Elizabeth Love